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The Blue Jays have asked about Zack Greinke

Nov 11, 2010, 8:52 AM EDT

Zack Greinke

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the Blue Jays have inquired about Zack Greinke.

Interesting. No one knows if Toronto is one of the 20 teams for which Greinke has no-trade protection this year (it goes down to 15 next year). On the one hand, Toronto is a giant city, so maybe it’s somewhere Greinke — who has suffered from anxiety disorder — wouldn’t want to go. On the other hand, since he wouldn’t be playing for the Leafs, it’s not like he’d have 25 microphones shoved in his face after every game. For all of its size, Toronto is more of a smallish town in baseball terms.  And of course, none of that may matter a bit because the only people who know the specifics with respect to Greinke’s history with anxiety are him, his wife, his doctor and probably the Royals. It may be that he wants to avoid places like New York because he’s averse to good deli food, not because of the size and bustle of the place. We’re all just guessing.

As for what it might take to land Greinke, it was reported yesterday that Dayton Moore is asking for “two can’t-miss prospects,” one of whom should be a pitcher with Greinke’s ceiling. The Blue Jays have one of those in Kyle Drabek, but that seems like an awfully steep price to pay for a guy who is going to cost $13 million and only be guaranteed to be around for two more seasons.

But hey, the Royals are wheelin’ and dealing already, so maybe something happens with Greinke soon too.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    The story is probably a lot of hot air. The headline on Elliott’s story actually said that the Jays were thinking of trading for Greinke. I doubt that they thought about it for very long. The Jays have 4 quality starters as well as Drabek and Scrabble. They do not need Greinke and his performance last year does not justify the Jays paying the reported asking price.

    Elliott ranks behind the baseball reporters for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. In his efforts to make an impact, he often creates speculative fluff that is very unreliable. If you look at the comments section under his story in the Sun, you will find that he is not believed.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:44 PM

      You can never have too many aces up your sleeve in that division, though. I think if the Blue Jays want to really powerhouse the AL East, they go for Greinke now.

  2. twinsfn343 - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    I live in TO and think he would be a great fit here and the fans would love to have someone to get excited about since the leaf suck and their hearts are still broken over Halladay leaving. With that said I think the asking price is way too much

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:25 AM

      Agreed. As far as the Jays are concerned, it does not make sense to trade for him at that asking price, especially if he can become a free agent after a year.

      Read the comments after Elliott’s story. The Jays fans do not like it even if Greinke returns to his 2009 performance rather than his 2010 performance. Elliott also wants the Jays to trade for Alex Gordon who has been a bust as a major league player.

      • Mark - Nov 11, 2010 at 10:10 AM

        Greinke pitched just as good this year as he did in 2008. You’re likely to get a better pitcher than the guy you saw, simply because any defense has to be better than what the Royals put out. The Jays D was 40 runs better than the Royals this year, so imagine how much better Greinke would be with even a league average D.

        The Jays have some good rotation depth but the fact of the matter is they’re a bunch of #2/3 on the rotation without a legit #1 option. Marcum and Romero are great pitchers, but they’re not #1 options. Ditto on Morrow, at least until he breaks the 200 IP zone (which won’t be this year). Upgrading to someone like Greinke is worthwhile for the Jays – he would have led the rotation in WAR, and would have been right behind Morrow in FIP.

        The only reason I’d be against Greinke is that the Jays have bigger holes to fill at either 3B/RF (wherever Bautista isn’t) and 1B/DH (wherever Lind isn’t). Keep in mind though that Moore is trading Greinke, and odds are you could offer Jesse Litsch and he’d think he was the second coming of Greg Maddux because Litsch is a “proven leader who knows how to win” or some nonsense like that.

        Let’s be honest – Moore can say that he wants 3-4 top prospects, but we all know that in his eyes that’s a scrappy guy with no defense and an empty BA, or a pitcher with middling K/9 and poor control.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 11, 2010 at 10:26 AM

        I made a slight mistake when I said that Greinke could be a free agent after a year. His contract has 2 more years to go. He has only had 1 year in which he pitched like an ace. His ERA was 4.17 last year which was up from 2.16 in 2010. As far as the Jays are concerned he is not worth what KC wants. On the other hand, I would trade Marcum and Litsch or Accardo for Greinke.

      • Mark - Nov 11, 2010 at 11:29 AM

        I thought we were past the point when we were using ERA to evaluate people…

        Greinke had a 3.34 FIP last year. Yes, that’s higher than in 2009 when he had a career year, but it’s better than it was in 2008 when it was 3.56. And yes, he was an outstanding pitcher in 2008, posting numbers that are comparable to #1 options around the league. He posted a 4.9 WAR season in 08 and a 5.2 WAR season in 2010. For reference, Romero was the Jays best pitcher, and he had a 4 WAR season. Greinke’s been significantly better than that for 3 years now.

        So I really don’t care that his ERA dropped by 2 runs, because ERA isn’t an indication of a players talent. Especially for a guy who plays for one of the worse defensive teams in the majors. Since 2008 Greinke has pitched like a #1 pitcher. FIP, XFIP and WAR all back this up.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2010 at 11:33 AM

        ERA is a terrible measure to determine how well a guy pitched. Look at the peripherals that strip out that terrible defense behind him.

        ’09:
        BABIP – .313
        K/9 – 9.50
        BB/9 – 2.00
        HR/FB – 4.5%
        GB% – 40%

        ’10:
        BABIP – .314
        K/9 – 7.40
        BB/9 – 2.25
        HR/FB – 7.5%
        GB% – 46%

        Greinke’s BABIP is uncanny at how it doesn’t move, at all. Look at some of the greats, and it fluctuates wildly. However, Grienke’s has been .318, .316, .318, .313, .314 for the last five years. Amazing.

        The drop in k/9 rate is concerning as two less strikeouts per nine is a ton when talking about a SP. The increase in GB% is good because while GB’s go for hits more often than not, they can’t be HR’s (cliche yes, but true). He still has a ridiculously low HR/FB% which is why his xFIP is always higher than his FIP.

        As for his ERA, in ’09 his LOB% (left on base %) was 79.3%(!). In ’10, it dropped to 65.3%. The 79% seems high, but in the last five years he’s been 75% or higher, save last year. Hopefully that number creeps back up and that ERA should drop accordingly.

  3. Ari Collins - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    “And of course, none of that may matter a bit because the only people who know the specifics with respect to Greinke’s history with anxiety are him, his wife, his doctor and probably the Royals. It may be that he wants to avoid places like New York because he’s averse to good deli food, not because of the size and bustle of the place. We’re all just guessing.”

    This.

  4. BC - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Jose Reyes and cash for Zack Greinke.
    DO IT SANDY!!!

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:49 PM

      That’s actually not a bad idea. Doubt the Mets could afford it, though. They’re deep enough in big contracts.

      Greinke+Aviles for Reyes and 2 decent prospects.

  5. twinsfn343 - Nov 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Mark I agree but like you said the Jays have more holes to fill that just starting pitching and I just dont think trading your best pitching prosepct with 6 years of team control is worth two years of Greinke regarless of his production he will probably be a FA before the Jays are competing for a playoff spot….unless they add another wild card

  6. mvd513 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:55 AM

    Still dont understand the “cant play in a big city due to anxiety issues” story. Dont all players want to win? World Series… pressure… spotlight… Right?

  7. peteypuck - Nov 12, 2010 at 5:48 AM

    Greinke might rack up the highest ERA on the Toronto starting staff. This is the AL East. Romaro and Marcum had better ERA’s. Cecil and Morrow were slightly higher than Reinke, but this was their first full year starting in the show. Drabek was electric coming up in September. They have more arms who had a taste last year and are there for callups if needed.
    The Jays don’t need Greinke, it would make no sense.
    This isn’t Kansas, Toto…it’s the Beast called the American League East. Go big or go home when you play here.

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